Madison Ann Cundiff
June 27, 2002 - May 7, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial

On May 6, 2007, Sarah Taylor called 911 to alert paramedics to the fact that her boyfriend's two year old daughter was not responding and was unconscious after having fallen down the stairs. Sarah said that she had been in the basement doing laundry and Madison was in her bedroom watching a movie, then Sarah heard several thumps and she found Madison at the bottom of the stairs crying, with her head against the wall. Sarah said she carried Madison up the stairs and while she was going up the stairs, Madison went unconscious. Sarah didn't call 911 right away, she called her friend who lived in another town. Miranda told Sarah to call 911, but she didn't. Sarah called David Cundiff, Madison's father who said he was on his way. A few minutes later, Sarah called David back and asked if she should call 911 and David said yes, so Sarah FINALLY called 911.

Madison was taken to UK Hospital and she arrived at about 10:30 a.m. and doctors intubated her in order to help her breath better. Dr. Dawn Turner ordered a CT scan and said that Madison appeared to be suffering from severe head trauma and her brain was swelling. Dr. Turner did all she could to reduce the swelling and during this time, Madison never opened her eyes and continued to be unresponsive. Madison stated having seizures and it was discovered that she had retinal hemorrhaging in both of her eyes and the CT scan showed bleeding in and around her brain, in several places.

An autopsy showed that Madison had blunt force trauma and Dr. Cristin Rolf said that Madison had died from what is known as Shaken Impact Syndrome. Dr. Rolf had the help of Dr. Betty Spivak and they concluded that Madison's dead was due to possible homicide.

On December 14, 2004, Sarah was indicted by a grand jury on a single charge of murder. On December 17, Sarah was in court with her Lawyer to enter a plea of not guilty. A trial would come make later and beginning December 3, 2007 and lasting only five days.

In court, Dr. Dawn Turner said that the injuries she had seen in Madison were comparable to those that would be sustained in a high speed car accident adding that they were also consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. Sarah's Lawyer tried to get a mistrial based on the fact that he did not feel it was right that he was not able to produce enough witnesses to counter what Dr. Turner was saying. Though the court agreed with him, the Judge denied a mistrial. Dr. Betty Spivak also testified saying that the injuries that Madison had were the type that were inflicted, not on accident.

Dr. George Nicols, a Chief Medical Examiner, said in court that the injuries Madison had been caused by multiple blows to her head and they were consistent with falling down the stairs. While being cross examined, Dr. Nicols said that it was possible that Madison was shaken though he didn't believe she had been because there were no marks on her body that would indicate she had been grabbed and shaken.

Madison's grandmother testified in court that the child always seemed to be afraid of Sarah and would cry whenever she was around her. The Defense Lawyer said that the two didn't have a relationship and that Hope Cundiff just "had it out" for his client and she was not a trustworthy witness.

Sarah was found guilty of reckless homicide and sentenced to five years in prison. Sarah filed an appeal saying that the evidence did not support that she had killed Madison, that appeal was denied. A second appeal for probation only was also denied. Then on January 30, 2008 Sarah filed another appeal stating that her rights had been violated, that her lawyer had not been allowed to properly cross examine witnesses as well as present evidence about Shaken Baby Syndrome. That appeal was also denied, Sarah would remain in prison.

In August of 2010, it was reported that Sarah was going to be paroled after serving less than three years of her five year sentence. Hope Cundiff was not happy about it:

"She can go out here and kill another child. She can go on with life. Madi is gone"

Hope wanted to make changes in the law saying that the system was very flawed:

"I was a deputy in Hardin County Jail. Had all the respect for out laws and corrections and
now, I wouldn't give you a dime for any of it because something is wrong without system. Bad,
bad wrong"

A conviction for reckless homicide meant that Sarah would only have to serve 20% of her sentence and she would be out by September 1. I wonder what the point is of making a sentenced that will NOT be served, this makes no sense all to me, hope is right, the laws need to change.



Death occurred in the state of Kentucky
This page was created on August 25, 2014

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